John Madden, an iconic football personality who won the Super Bowl as a head coach then help popularize the game as a legendary broadcaster and video game icon, died unexpectedly on the evening of Tuesday, December 28. He was 85.
His loss sent shockwaves across the NFL landscape and spurred online reactions — including from the San Francisco 49ers and some of the franchise’s legendary players who played when Madden was in the broadcast booth.
Madden, who won the 1976 Super Bowl with the then-Oakland Raiders, helped create enthusiasm for the game of football in his post coaching career that stretched from the television screens to the video game consoles with his iconic “Madden Football” video games.
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Madden played and graduated from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, California where he also played baseball. He graduated in 1958 and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 1987. Madden’s ceremonial Hall of Fame plaque still sits inside the Mott Center on the Cal Poly campus.
He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006. And his impact on the game of football stretched globally including his home region of the Bay Area, which includes the 49ers.
49ers Account Called Him ‘An Inspiration to so Many’
The Twitter account of the 49ers took to social media to react to the passing of Madden, who grew up in nearby Daly City, California.
“The 49ers mourn the passing of Bay Area native and football icon John Madden. He was an inspiration to so many and will never be forgotten. Our thoughts – along with those of the entire football community – are with John’s family and loved ones,” the 49ers tweeted.
Though Madden coached across the Bay Area and produced an astonishing 103-32-7 record with a .759 winning percentage according to Pro Football Reference, his broadcasting career included him and another late icon, Pat Summerall, making multiple trips to Candlestick Park in San Francisco to call 49er games.
This includes the 1980s during the era of Bill Walsh, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Roger Craig, John Taylor and Ronnie Lott. The hard-hitting safety Lott took to his personal Twitter account to post a previous picture of him and Madden together.
Rice also shared his condolences online.
Another 49ers legend Bryant Young, who won the 1995 Super Bowl with the ‘Niners, called Madden one of the best to ever do it.
“One of the greatest to ever do it as a coach and in the booth. Your life has impacted many. RIP John Madden. My thoughts and prayers are with the family, Raider nation, and all impacted by his passing,” was what Young tweeted.
Madden Called Some Memorable 49er Games
Again, for most of his broadcasting career, San Francisco was often a stop for the “Madden Cruiser,” including playoffs.
One of those games where fans heard Madden’s iconic voice and reactions? The 1999 NFC wildcard contest between the Green Bay Packers and the 49ers, which featured “The Catch 2” from Terrell Owens and a “Holy Moly!” blurted out from Madden himself.
Another memorable playoff game Madden called? The 1994 NFC title game between the 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys — a game that saw the 49ers get their redemption on the team that defeated them in the previous two conference championship games.